"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Excerpts, and philosophy, from an Alaskan's journals

The comments below, from Richard Proenneke back in the late 1960s are astounding to me.
Building his own cabin in the Alaskan wilds with only hand tools, he kept a daily journal.
The fete alone is mind- bending, but then his writing is also magnificent, and his reflections on time and technology and work are more true than ever.
Philosophy from the wilderness. 
Enjoy.


  • A man is on his own frequency out here. (about time of day)
  • The lake was moon still.
  • This country makes a man younger than his birthdays.
  • Its ears worked like a pair of scissors and its nose twitched  as if with an itch it couldn't reach. (A snow hare)
  • Strange to wake up at 3 in the morning and feel like daylight is being wasted.
  • …but risk now and then is good for a man. Makes him come alive and tunes his body to a greater efficiency.
  • There's no water in the world like that born in the high country.
  • The gates of heaven are near. (In the mountains)
  • ...took several sips  from the trickles that made music over the stones.
  • I just season simple food with hunger.
  • We have become accustomed to work on pieces of things rather than wholes. It is a  way of life with us now. The emphasis is on teamwork. I believe this trend bears much of the blame for the loss of pride in one's work, the kind of pride the old craftsman felt when he started a job and finished it and stood back and admired it. How does a man on an assembly line feel any pride in the final product that rolls out at the other end.
  • At my pace, I can notice things... . Nature provides so many things if one has the eye to notice them.   A bubble on the water, an arctic tern's breast tinged with the blue reflections of the lake.
  • News never changes much. It's just the same things happening to different people. I would rather experience things happening to me than read about them happening to others. I am my own newspaper and my own radio. I honestly don't believe that man was meant to know everything going on in the world, all at the same time…and the poor guy with all the immediate problems of his own life is burdened with those of the whole world.
  • I don't know what the answer is. In time man gets use to almost anything but the problem seems to be that technology is advancing faster than he can adjust to.
  • I don't like the look of progress, if that's what it's called.

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